Throughout the current season, Saturday Night Live has positioned itself as the comedic voice of opposition to the Trump Administration. That maneuver has brought the show renewed attention from viewers, including one in the White House, and ratings success.
The show is currently having its best season since 2008 and last night’s episode with host Alec Baldwin and musical guest Ed Sheeran was the highest watched episode with live plus same-day viewers since a January 2011 episode with host Jim Carrey. The episode brought in a 7.2 overnight rating and an 18 share which is higher than the episode that Donald Trump hosted in November of 2015. That episode brought in a 6.6 rating.
Ratings are of out of total televisions while share shows percentage of televisions on. Nielsen’s ratings for SNL were based on 56 media markets, so that means that 7.2% of televisions were tuned in to SNL last night, but 18% of televisions on were watching SNL.
SNL this season has been averaging more than 7 million viewers live plus same day. However, measuring with live plus seven days brings the number over 10 million. The average of 10.6 million viewers per episode is SNL’s best performance since the 1994-95 season.
The ratings numbers come from Nielsen.
Saturday Night Live typically receives a bump in ratings and attention from the election, but the show has successfully parlayed Trump’s Administration into a recurring bit. President Trump is known to watch the show and oftentimes tweets his, typically critical, views. Numerous members of Trump’s Administration have been spoofed on the show, including Counselor Kellyanne Conway, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon (typically represented as the Grim Reaper), and Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Following last week’s viral sketch with Melissa McCarthy portraying Spicer, she appeared again last week for another round with the White House press corps. Baldwin as Trump appeared later in the show in a People’s Court skit facing off against the three judges of the 9th Circuit Court. Newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon) also made an appearance in the sketch. Kellyanne Conway (Kate McKinnon) and Jake Tapper (Beck Bennett) appeared in a Fatal Attraction sketch and Leslie Jones had a sketch where she attempted to convince creator Lorne Michaels to let her play Trump.
The show has also had success with non-political material with a sharper tone on social sketches. Last night’s episode ridiculed companies with unrelated but political commercials in the Super Bowl and companies trying to capitalize on Black History Month.